Matano unbowed ahead of Leopards clash despite missing six


Matano unbowed ahead of Leopards clash despite missing six
Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano gestures during team's training session on July 17, 2021 ahead of their Kenyan Premier League clash against AFC Leopards. Photo/ Courtesy.

In Summary

  • Matano expects their replacements to rise up to the occasion but has conceded it makes a big difference to play without six key players.
  • Mieno recalls their last meeting with Leopards was a loss in the FKF Cup, and is clear on what they have to amend to emerge winners.

Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano will be without six of his first team members as the Kenyan Premier League leaders take on AFC Leopards on Friday at the Thika Stadium.

Captain Hashim Sempala is out having accumulated five yellow cards, Boniface Muchiri and Henry Mejja are in Ethiopia with the national U-23 team Emerging Stars for the CECAFA duty while Luke Namanda,ç and Christopher Orchum are injured.

Matano expects their replacements to rise up to the occasion but has conceded it makes a big difference to play without six key players.

“We are good but without the six there is a big difference. We will miss them but those who are available will have to show why they are in the team. The spirit is high and every player is ready to play,” Matano said.

The coach says the recent wins including sealing of the CAF Champions League ticket are behind his back and is fully focused on the Leopards tie.

“We are not thinking about what happened anymore, we are fully thinking about tomorrow’s (Friday) match,” he noted, eyed on extending the lead as the Brewers chase the title they last won in 2016.

Experienced midfielder Humphrey Mieno is however optimistic their good run in their recent matches gives the much needed morale heading to the high billed clash.

They have not lost in the last five matches, only drawing to KCB in their last outing (2-2) on Sunday.

“Getting four points from our last two matches is a very positive result considering we played teams that are rallying right behind us in the title race. It’s a massive step for us and I think we are on the right track,” noted Mieno.

However, he recalls their last meeting with Leopards was a loss in the FKF Cup, and is clear on what they have to amend to emerge winners.

“Our undoing was failing to convert the many chances we created in the Cup match, despite playing well and surely we were the better team. We just need to convert our chances and collect three points.”

Tusker are on the summit of the FKF-PL with 51 points, four ahead of second placed KCB while Leopards are third with 43.

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